News You Can Use:

Tests Like PARCC Do a Better Job of Measuring Student Understanding
Newark Star-Ledger
Research organized by the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) finds PARCC and Smarter Balanced assessments “do a better job of measuring student understanding” and “better reflect what teachers are teaching to meet higher academic expectations” than many states’ former tests, writes Maryann Woods-Murphy, a participant in the study.

En la Educación, el Esfuerzo Vale la Pena
La Opinión
“Clear and consistent” expectations beget classroom success, and, “together with more accurate tests,” help ensure students of all backgrounds are prepared for college and careers, writes Janet Murguía, president of the National Council of La Raza (translated).

The Math-Class Paradox
The Atlantic
Common Core State Standards are “at least a step in the right direction” to begin addressing classroom environments that ignore the “applicability” and “beauty” of math, writes Jo Boaler, a professor of mathematics at Stanford University. “Those who oppose the Common Core often do so because they want to keep the traditional mathematics approach in classrooms, even though this has turned off millions of students.”

Three Reasons Christians Can Celebrate the Every Student Succeeds Act
Christian Post
Dr. Andrea Ramirez, executive director of the Faith and Education Coalition, writes that the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act will help achieve “biblical justice” in schools by shifting control of education back to states, protecting marginalized students and empowering teachers and administrators.

Correcting the Record:

Common Core Keeps Getting Bashed on the Campaign Trail
Education Week
During a campaign event in Iowa, Senator Marco Rubio claimed the federal government is “trying to take over our schools with Common Core.” “I will repeal every single one of [Pres. Obama’s] illegal, unconstitutional executive orders…That means we are stopping any and all work on imposing Common Core on this country.” The Every Student Succeeds Act prohibits federal authorities from pushing any set of education standards, but still Sen. Rubio perpetuates a baseless mischaracterization that’s found favor with some opponents. Here’s where Sen. Rubio gets it wrong:

Maine Bill Would Block Common Core Standards…Maybe 
The New American
Legislation pre-filed by State Representative Will Tuell could “exempt Maine from the mandates of the federal Common Core Standards,” a New American article heralds. An opinion piece in The Forecaster declares the bill (LD 1492) an opportunity “for parents who recognize that Common Core is a mess and a disaster” to “end this insanity.” In fact, Maine officials voluntarily adopted the Common Core and voluntarily continue to implement the standards. Replacing them would be a big step backwards for students and teachers in the state. Here is where the articles get it wrong:

A Timeline of One State’s Departure from the Common Core in 2015 
Education World
“2015 became the year that Arkansas decided to move away from the Common Core,” the article purports. It goes further to claim in the year ahead “many states will be accessing or re-doing state standards to rely less on Common Core and aligned tests.” In fact, the committee launched by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson recommended making changes to the state’s standards only as warranted—not a departure, as the article suggests. Across the country, many states are doing the same—reviewing and building on the framework laid by the Common Core. Here’s where the article gets it wrong:

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The Every Student Succeeds Act Will Leave Children Behind
Washington Post
“The Every Student Succeeds Act is a win-win-win for everyone who counts,” writes columnist Michael Gerson, and “ends the back-seat driving of the federal government in education policy.” But states must be cautious not to lower the bar for students in the absence of federal oversight. “A retreat from educational accountability is the measure of our complacency. And what does it say that the one thing everyone in Washington can agree on effectively devalues the educational needs of black children?”

Will States Swap Standards-Based Tests for SAT, ACT?
Education Week
High school testing is “on the brink of a profound shift” following the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which gives states greater control over accountability systems. “Most states’ current tests are based on their academic standards and are built to measure mastery of those standards,” the article reports. “Moving to a college-entrance exam such as the SAT or ACT, which are designed to predict the likelihood of students’ success in college, would mean that states had chosen instead to measure college readiness.”

How Arne Duncan Reshaped American Education and Made Enemies Along the Way
NBC News
Outgoing U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s use of “soft power” to encourage states to adopt comparable academic standards set off a backlash of opposition to Common Core State Standards among both conservatives and liberals. Even so, “most states have kept the standards in place,” the article notes. “[Common Core] changed how [teachers] do what they do. It will be hard to get them to go back,” says Sarah Garland, editor of the Hechinger Report.

Colorado Board of Education Officially Hires Crandall as Commissioner
Denver Post
The Colorado Board of Education voted unanimously Monday to appoint former Arizona lawmaker Richard Crandall as the state’s next education commissioner. Crandall will begin on January 19. Considered a moderate Republican, Crandall played a key role in ushering in major changes to education policy in Arizona, including supporting the state’s adoption of Common Core State Standards.